Branding is the cornerstone of any business. And by business we mean multi-national multi-billion dollar organisations right through to early start-ups running out of an upstairs bedroom. All too often those new to the business game skip over the branding stages in a bid to speed up the production process and begin serving customers.
However, while branding may not directly generate revenue on its own, without the proper planning and processes in place you are undoubtedly doing yourself and your customers a considerable disservice.
It’s important to remember branding is not as simple as naming your business and coming up with a catchy tag line. Entire businesses are built around the branding process and, believe it or not, they aren’t filled with people spit-balling names for the new coffee shop going in up the street.
Here are some helpful tips to get the branding process started for your new venture.
Ok, so it’s not the most fun thing in the world but like most things in business, proper research and planning will save valuable time and money in the long run. Ask yourself simple questions like who are you targeting, why them and how are you going to do it? This is a great chance to look at your main competitors and see what they do and if it works. If you can learn from their mistakes rather than your own, you are one step ahead already.
What do you want potential customers to know about your business? So much can be said in a short and simple tagline, colour choice in your logo or language you choose to use. Don’t presume they will just ‘get it’ because more often than not, they won’t.
If you can, sit down with everyone involved in the new business and make sure you are all on the same page. Everyone and everything a customer interacts with is representing you and your brand so remember to involve them in the planning process and make sure you are all on the same wavelength.
Don’t try to do it yourself
Remember those people we spoke about earlier who work in branding? Well they’re very good and worth the investment. Please don’t skimp here. Research a marketing/branding company who gets what you are about and use them along the way for guidance and implementation. Chances are, the good ones won’t be cheap, but they are expensive for a reason and they will bring results much faster and probably at a cheaper cost in the long run.
The other problem with doing these kinds of things yourself is you are, even subconsciously, too close to the project. You will almost certainly forget your customers don’t know specific industry lingo or expectations that have become second nature to you.
Mistakes in the early stages of business development and branding can be harmful and may require rebranding down the track. In worst-case scenarios, poor decisions early on may eliminate target markets and do irreparable damage to the brand.
Make consistency second nature and make sure everyone involved in the business is sticking to it. This can include a range of things from logo design and taglines right through to uniforms and merchandise. Even the way you answer the phone is telling your customers a lot about your brand.
Don’t just rely on the physical, what about the consistency in experience and service? Think about any major industry leader like McDonalds. Wherever you are in the world and whatever you order, the experience is always the same. There is a subtle comfort in that and your customers will respond with loyalty and advocacy.
Always chase feedback and remember it’s never personal in the same way that good feedback doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. You can gain vital feedback in a range of ways from online reviews, focus groups and point of sale surveys through to word of mouth. A successful business is constantly listening to customer feedback and adjusting their approach accordingly.
Think of branding as the outward-facing side of your business. The old saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression applies today more than ever with the rise of online engagement and social media marketing. Don’t forget to put in the hard yards early on and reap the rewards in the future from quality and consistent branding throughout your business.
If you need any help or advice with regards to the branding process for your business – the Kwik Kopy experts can help.